The members of staff in the Culture, Space and Power research theme explore the geographies of cultural practices, forms and knowledges and the cultural dimensions of geographical processes in many different historical and geographical settings. Our research has strong interdisciplinary links (with history, English, anthropology, art and performance studies) and often involves external collaboration with organizations beyond the academy including museums and arts organizations. See our short film to hear more about this dimension of our work: ‘Museum Collaborations, School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London’.
Our research is shaping international debates in a range of areas. These include:
- Global geographies of knowledge and practice
Our research exploring the geographies of global connections and working at a global or planetary scale is demonstrating the significance of global or globalising practices, and planetary ways of knowing, for imperial political and economic orders (Miles Ogborn); and historical geographies of development (Simon Reid-Henry); the production, organisation and translation of medical knowledge past and present (Kerry Holden, Simon Reid-Henry); and for knowledges, narratives and aesthetics of environmental and climatic change (Kathryn Yusoff). For example, Miles Ogborn is currently charting the relationship between speech, writing and printing in the forging of new geographies of knowledge and communication between Britain and the islands of the Caribbean at a time when these sugar-producing slave societies were the richest part of the empire.
- Home and relatedness
The work of the group has also demonstrated the cultural and political significance of ideas and practices of belonging, origins and movement for urban diasporas (Alison Blunt); explored ideas of difference, relatedness and indigeneity within accounts of human genetic diversity at different scales (Catherine Nash), and addressed the intimate geographies of home past and present (Alison Blunt, Alastair Owens). Much of this work is conducted in partnership with the Geffrye Museum of the Home via the Centre for Studies of Home and includes research on the home as a site of popular historical knowledge and practice (Catherine Nash, Alison Blunt, Alastair Owens, Caron Lipman), on home ‘unmaking’ (Richard Baxter), and on home-work relationships in London from the 17th century to the present day (Alison Blunt, Alastair Owens).
- Urban cultural politics
Our research has explored how cities are spaces of possibility, creativity and identity formation. This has included investigations of utopian urbanism and visions of mobile cities from within modernist and avant-garde movements as well as critical urban theory; the urban politics and poetics of artistic spatial practices; the city as a site of diasporic identity (Alison Blunt); cities as sites of humanitarian engagement (Simon Reid-Henry); and work on cities, communities and philanthropy (Alison Blunt, Tim Brown and Alastair Owens), including settlement houses, Dr Barnardo's and urban corporate social philanthropy (with Cathy McIlwaine and JaneWills).
The three sub-themes are connected by the AHRC funded programme with the V&A Museum of Childhood The Child in the World on the global connections of London childhoods (Alison Blunt, Miles Ogborn, Alastair Owens).